Home Art sale Picasso painting seized during anti-drug operation in Iraq

Picasso painting seized during anti-drug operation in Iraq


Written by Amarachi Orie, CNN

Authorities say a painting believed to be by Pablo Picasso and valued at millions of dollars was discovered during a drug raid in Iraq.
The allegedly stolen artwork was discovered in the possession of three people in Diyala province in central-eastern Iraq on Saturday, the Iraqi News Agency (INA) reports.

The suspects were arrested on suspicion of being involved in the trade and transport of narcotics, according to the General Directorate for the Fight against Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of the country’s Interior Ministry.

“A painting belonging to the international painter Picasso was seized from their possession, estimated at millions of dollars,” Colonel Bilal Sobhi, director of the anti-narcotics media office, said in a statement to INA.

He added: “The drug trade is linked to many crimes, including murder, robbery, kidnapping, rape, gang formation, corruption and family disintegration, until it reaches the antiques trade”.

The raid that led to the discovery of the painting was part of the ministry’s ongoing security operations that began in July.

Details about the painting, its ownership history and how it will be authenticated have yet to be released.

Picasso, who died in 1973, amassed a colossal body of work.

During his 78-year career, the Spanish artist produced around 13,500 paintings and around 100,000 prints and etchings. He also created hundreds of sculptures and ceramics and around 34,000 illustrations.
Last year, Picasso’s “Head of a Woman” was among three works of art recovered by Greek police nearly a decade after it was stolen in a daring museum heist.
In 2019, the $28 million ‘Portrait of Dora Maar’ was recovered by a Dutch art sleuth, 20 years after it was stolen from a Saudi sheikh’s yacht off the coast of the south coast of France.
In May, a portrait of Picasso’s lover and mother of one of his children, titled “Femme nue couche” (“Reclining Naked Woman”), sold at auction for $67.5 million.